Lobster season. It’s on.
We had our first taste of the new season on Thursday at Estel’s Dine by the Sea, lobster omelettes all around. Man, they were good.
Next up has got to be the original island lobster sliders at Casa Picasso, my all-time island favorite lobster delivery system. Must have something to do with those little buns slathered in butter.
I’m surprised that lobsters have not evolved to include gobs of butter under the exoskeleton. You know, the way the Butterball turkey has evolved to naturally include lots of butter under the skin. Or the way watermelons can be grown to include vodka infused inside the “meat.”
Isn’t evolution amazing?
But anyway, lobster.
To celebrate the opening of lobster season this week, all of Ambergris Caye, it seems, is turning out delicious dishes which feature freshly captured Spineys. From Wednesday through next Saturday, the island is abuzz with the Lobster Crawl. Each night, a different restaurant features a special lobster dish. Last night was the turn of Pirate’s Treasure, north of the bridge. Normally this is the place to go for another spiky creature, the Lion Fish. The chef-owner makes the Lion Fish sing on your plate, in a tickle-your-tastebuds-kind-of-way. For lobster, the place was packed.
Hopefully all participants in the Lobster Crawl experience similar joys of standing room only.
There is a Lobster Fest 2016 passport available which you can get stamped at each participating restaurant. You just need to stop in for the stamp; you don’t have to buy lobster every night! Yikes, that would be a lot of lobster. There are also daily daytime events for which you can get stamps in your passport too.
Getting passports stamped is a big deal. You see, on Saturday, June 25, the crawl culminates in the Block Party in Central Park where many of the island’s restaurants set up booths and sell — wait for it — LOBSTER! Fabulous, tasty, crunchy, yummy, lip-smacking culinary flights of fancy, all intimately involved with lobster.
Rum and beer is also sold but be very careful how much you consume in concert with lobster. You can go crazy and do weird stuff like lose your golf cart for nearly five days — or so I have been told by reputable others. (Here’s one of those sad stories.)
But back to the passport. You turn it in for tickets to a drawing — one ticket for each stamp — in which the grand prize is a mind-boggling array of resort stays, golf cart rentals, dinners for two, snorkeling trips, airplane flights, drinks and adventures.
I know this is a big deal because Rose won it in 2014, our first year on the island. There was such an embarrassment of riches that we were richly embarrassed to have won so much. Well, not so embarrassed that we didn’t enjoy spending the next year burning off all the wonderful prizes. And it took about a year to burn through them all.
You don’t have to take my word for it. Rebecca “Scoop” Coutant, of the San Pedro Scoop blog, has written extensively on all this. She also gets to judge the restaurant entries on Block Party night which is both amazing and daunting — in a gastronomical senses. This is her take on this year’s festivities. Well worth the read.
Go on. Click on it and read. I’ll wait.
Two things are new this year: the Lobster Crawl is longer than ever before, by about four days, and for folks with a few extra bucks there will be some comfortable seating and tables at the Block Party — and no wait in the notoriously long lines for food.
The latter is called Chairs for Charity and it is a fundraiser by the newly minted San Pedro Rotary Club. For $40 a person you can have a seat at the table, inside a tented area that also includes a bar and Porta-potty for the entire night. There are also two “seatings” — 5-8 p.m. and 8-11:30 p.m. for which tickets are $25 each. Participating restaurants will have their offerings printed on a menu and runners will fetch you your dinner.
This could prove extremely convenient and popular for people who hate to stand in lines, don’t like the jostle of the crowds or simply can’t stand up for whatever reason. Good for families too!
Here’s the inside scoop from Rotarian and Caye Coffee impresario Paul DuVille: “Tickets are available to everyone and are on sale at each LobsterFest event. The reason we came up with this approach was based on feedback of how people wouldn’t attend because they have to ‘fight the crowd’ and spend a good portion of their time standing in line waiting for food and drink.
“There are a few prizes to be won. The purpose was to provide a more comfortable event for those who may not normally attend. The proceeds will be used by the Rotary Club to fund our first projects, as we are a newly chartered club.”
Me, I’m a crowd jostler and love to talk it up with complete strangers and old friends I meet by chance out there in the park. On the other hand, access to a bar and bathroom alone might be worth the price of admission. The Rotary Club is young and bristling with ideas for good things to do in the community — did you hear about their incredibly successful book drive? This family seating area is a way for the club to begin filling its coffers in order to do more for the community.
Check them out!